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Sam's Club offer wellness program to small businesses

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BENTONVILLE, Ark., and JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Sam’s Club has rolled out a new version of U.S. Preventive Medicine’s The Prevention Plan health management program that is customized for small employers.

Sam’s Club has rolled out a new version of U.S. Preventive Medicine’s The Prevention Plan health management program that is customized for small employers.

The Walmart warehouse club chain and health care service provider said Monday that the new offering gives small businesses an effective solution for supporting the health and enhancing the productivity of their employees.

Launched to coincide with National Small Business Week, The Prevention Plan now includes a resource center for small businesses that offers information on creating a culture of health and how to apply for state and federal wellness grants.

In January, Sam’s Club announced that it would begin selling The Prevention Plan to its members for $99 through its website. The new program, with resources for small businesses and a comprehensive blood panel, is now available for purchase in nearly 540 Sam’s Clubs nationwide.

"As America continues to progress toward sustained economic recovery, we recognize that small businesses will be a key contributor to our country’s success, and we are committed to offering our members as many small-business solutions as possible," Jill Turner-Mitchael, senior vice president of Sam’s Club health and wellness, said in a statement. "We realize that reducing health care costs and supporting employee health are extremely integral to the success of small businesses, which is why we’re offering The Prevention Plan."

A step-by-step health management program, The Prevention Plan assesses an individual’s health risks and creates a personalized plan to lower those risks. It includes an online health risk appraisal plus a comprehensive blood test available through Quest Diagnostics with 25 results, including cholesterol, blood sugar, liver and kidney function, thyroid, bones, and fluids and electrolytes. Personal health coaching, ongoing support, various health tools and a planwide health challenge also are designed to encourage members to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

"The effects of poor health can be severe for these businesses, with high claims rates resulting in significant annual cost increases, and we know that for many small businesses offering employees a health management program has been cost prohibitive," stated Christopher Fey, founder, chief executive officer and chairman of U.S. Preventive Medicine. "The Prevention Plan is essentially a ‘Turbotax’ for health, giving small employers all the tools and simple instructions to implement the program. Employers who successfully do so can slow the rate of premium increases they experience while reducing absenteeism and enhancing productivity."

After just one year on the plan, participants have seen dramatic health improvements, with about two-thirds of high-risk individuals moving to moderate and low-risk classifications, according to Ronald Loeppke, M.D., vice chairman of U.S. Preventive Medicine.

"Now more than ever, the health of employees at small companies is a critical element of business success, and a peer-reviewed, published study revealed that The Prevention Plan is a proven solution to help employees reduce their health risks," commented Loeppke. "The bottom line is that good health is good business," he added.

The Prevention Plan’s new online resource center for small businesses provides instructions on applying for state wellness grants and updates on the status of the $200 million in grants set aside under health care reform to reimburse small businesses for wellness programs. The resource center also helps employers customize employee communications materials, incentives and challenges to motivate workers to become healthier.

"The additional benefit for many small employers today is the potential to be reimbursed for their implementation of the plan," stated Fred Goldstein, U.S. Preventive Medicine’s chief government affairs officer. "There is a significant push, at both the federal and state levels, to encourage small businesses to adopt health management programs. Based on the proposed criteria we have seen, we are confident that The Prevention Plan will be eligible for reimbursement."